Successful digital transformation initiatives must be accompanied by culture changes, says Gartner. That means CIOs responsible for digital initiatives will need to play a key role in establishing the right mindsets and practices.

Gartner predicts that by 2021, CIOs will be as responsible for culture change as chief HR officers (CHROs).

“A lot of CIOs have realised that culture can be an accelerator of digital transformation and that they have the means to reinforce a desired culture through their technology choices,” said Elise Olding, research VP at Gartner.

“A partnership with the CHRO is the perfect way to align technology selections and design processes to shape the desired work behaviours.”

The mission and values of an organisation usually fall into the remit of HR. The partnership between IT and HR can shed light on how IT can make technology and process design decisions that foster the intention of the desired organisational culture.

Enterprise architecture can adopt principles that align to the cultural traits, and when business analysts design processes they can create them with the intended traits in mind. Hence, IT supports the way an organisation behaves in cooperation with HR.

Culture change, however, is a process. This means that there will be barriers to digital initiatives — in peoples’ mindsets and practices.

“A great way to jump-start culture change and enable adoption of new technologies and processes is the culture hack. Start with a small, motivated user group and use it to showcase fast wins and results,” Olding said.

Gartner also predicts that by 2021, 80 per cent of midsize to large enterprises will change their culture as a way to accelerate their digital transformation strategy.

A recent Gartner survey found that 67 per cent of organisations have already completed culture change initiatives or were in the process of doing so. The reason for many of those initiatives was that the current culture has been identified as a barrier to digital transformation.

“In 50 per cent of cases, transformational initiatives are clear failures and CIOs report that the main barrier is culture,” said Christie Struckman, research VP at Gartner.

“The logical conclusion is that CIOs should start with culture change when they embark on digital transformation, not wait to address it later.”

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